AMMAN — Police late on Monday arrested an Amman activist for allegedly chanting illegal slogans as political groups vowed to continue protests urging the release of “political prisoners”.
According to a security source, police officials arrested youth activist Abdullah Mahadeen hours after an evening protest in the capital’s Interior Ministry Circle on Monday during which he allegedly raised slogans threatening to “undermine the regime”.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Amman prosecutor general ordered Mahadeen detained for two weeks for attempting to “undermine the political regime” in the country.
Six pro-reform coalitions and political groups had organised the evening rally to call for the release of eight Amman and Tafileh protesters who were detained over the weekend for allegedly making statements deemed insulting to His Majesty King Abdullah and threatening national security and unity.
On Monday, authorities referred six of the detained activists to the State Security Court, where they were charged with “undermining the regime”, “illegal assembly”, and “slandering the King” — charges that could land each activist in prison for up to 10 years.
Meanwhile, political activists say they remain “undeterred” by the arrests, vowing to launch “daily” rallies across the country to press the authorities to release the men.
“For every one of us they arrest, many more will take their place in the streets,” said Fadi Abadeen, an organiser of the Free Tafileh Movement.
According to Abadeen, grass-roots popular movements are set to hold a series of nightly rallies in the southern city of Tafileh and the east Amman neighbourhood of Hay Al Tafaileh (an enclave of Tafileh natives) starting Wednesday evening.
The series of arrests began on Friday, when security forces arrested Mohammed Al Amaara during a protest in Tafileh for allegedly making remarks deemed insulting to the Royal family.
A protest urging Amaara’s release later that evening descended into clashes between security personnel and protesters after participants reportedly began chanting slogans deemed insulting to the Monarch and “undermining national security”.
The incident marked the second such security crackdown on activists in Tafileh, a city some 179 kilometres south of Amman that hosted some of the first activities in the country’s 21-month-old protest movement.
In March, authorities arrested some 20 Tafileh residents for their alleged participation in an ill-fated demonstration over unemployment that descended into riots, charging the men with slandering the King and undermining national security.
The Tafileh activists were later released on a Royal pardon.